Umbrian Lentil Soup (Zuppa de Lenticchie) | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Umbrian Lentil Soup (Zuppa de Lenticchie)

Umbrian Lentil Soup (Zuppa de Lenticchie)

In her kitchen in Perugia, Italy, home cook Silvia Buitoni taught us how to make brothy but hearty Umbrian lentil soup, or zuppa di lenticchie, a regional classic and a fine example of rustic Italian cooking. Of utmost importance, of course, are the lentils. Golden in tone with a pale green cast, Castelluccio lentils, which are grown in the Umbrian village of the same name, are the backbone of this simple but satisfying dish. Their flavor is nutty, earthy and subtly sweet, and though they become tender and plump with cooking, they still retain their shape beautifully and don’t break down as they cook. Castelluccio lentils are worth seeking out in Italian markets or online—but if you can’t find them, opt instead for French lentils du Puy, which are green-gray in color and have similar texture and flavor characteristics. Puy lentils may take a little longer to cook, so be sure to taste them for doneness.

Tip

Don’t cook the lentils covered for the entire time. When they’re just shy of tender, uncover the pot, turn up the burner half a notch and cook for a few more minutes. This allows some of the liquid to evaporate so the broth becomes thicker and richer.

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